The first page I actually stuck on the web was a short lived site I named "The Sophisticated Ooga Booga." The only thing it had was a list of links to other sites I visited and a hideous yellow background. Though not worthwhile visiting, it did teach me a lot about making graphics and writing hypertext. Like a lot of people with similar "Link Only" pages, however, I had the urge to create a specialized site that other web surfers would appreciate.
As a Tolkien fan, I had been very pleased to discover the fact that there were tons of graphics on the Internet depicting scenes from his books. I immediately downloaded all of the Tolkien content at ftp.sunet.se and I hit every ftp site I could find to try to unearth more. Unfortunately at the time, (around September 1995) there wasn't a lot of Tolkien imagery available on the world wide web. There were a few sites with a handful of thumbnails each, but I couldn't find any that had a complete set of thumbnails of all the digitized Tolkien images. Also, it was a little frustrating following a hyperlink to something labeled "shelob_and_sam" and discovering that it was something I had already downloaded but titled differently. I remember wishing that somebody had a site with consistent filenames and previews so I could look at what I was downloading before grabbing an unwanted 350K file. (this was way before broadband became prevalent.)
It dawned on me that I finally had the subject matter with which to create a unique and relevent website. I didn't feel like calling it something which clearly illustrated its content like "The Unofficial Tolkien Page," or simply "J.R.R. Tolkien," so I brilliantly came up with the unobvious title it goes by to this day. "Rolozo" is derived from the phrase, Ryan Lovett Zone. Ugh. I've thought about renaming the site many times, but its been around too long to go back now.
At first, Rolozo Tolkien was split into sections containing the Lee, Nasmith, and Howe art, in no particular order. This was followed soon after by Garland images, FAQs, links to mailing lists and newgroups, verses, Hildebrandt art, family trees I made when I was first read The Silmarillion, and various singular images I discovered on a few distant web sites. Anke Eiszmann was the first person to request that I add her own artwork, and since then the site has grown tremendously with the addition of amateur artwork. I've experimented with many different web technologies over the years, so it is unlikely that the general layout and implementation of the web site you see today is the same as what it was when I wrote this. The site also survived two relocations made possible only because kind web administrators (and visitors here) wanted to see what kind of impact it would have on their server usage.
There are now quite a few other Tolkien site which contain previews and documents and so forth. Many are excellent and contain features I wish I had thought of myself. Indeed, a lot of what you see here is unoriginal. That is, when I have come across a feature that I liked (such as the quotations page), I borrowed it and modified it. (i.e. stole it and masked its integration) And of course, none of the the illustrations or passages are mine. Basically, the only original work contained here is the set of family trees, and the information they contain may be looked up at the back of the books.
Still, I have put a lot of work into Rolozo Tolkien. The presentation is wholly my own, and I've noticed some of my graphics and thumbnails appearing at other Tolkien sites. I am constantly adding and modifying things, and I'd like to think that the site reflects my efforts. I know that there are people who appreciate what I've done here, as evidenced by the gracious email I have received and the ascending hit total. Hopefully, this site can continue to change and grow, if not for creativity then for the web administrators observing net traffic. And hopefully, I can make the web experience a little bit more enjoyable for Tolkien fans.